Interfacing Final Cut and Premiere Pro


I realize this isn’t useful to everybody, but for those of us who can’t afford a Mac, or simply want to rebel since EVERYBODY ELSE uses a Mac (in the film industry), this may be of help.

My situation was as follows. I own an HVX200 with which I shoot the scripts I write (I direct and try to use a DP every chance I get).

After shooting, I take all the footage and label each file/take with notes (favorite, scene, shot and take, problems with the shot, etc.).

Cutting your own stuff is a great exercise and I heartily recommend to any director, because you’ll become aware of all these little continuity issues when filming, which means you’re more likely to get EVERYTHING you need, instead of moaning and groaning in Post. However, it’s much better to have a fresh pair of eyes looking at the footage and your notes, and compile the best take/cut — I also, highly recommend this, just as I recommend listening to your cast and crew on set (always make sure you have what you need, and you don’t have to take people’s suggestions) because a lot of times, they have great ideas that make your story that much better, and everyone loves to help and contribute (makes it personal). Obviously, as the writer, you need to know if the suggestions will work with the rest of the stuff that hasn’t been shot, or even written.

Enough preaching!

I shot footage for a 42 min pilot, and labeled the whole thing in Premiere… which is the only tool to which I had access. So what? So, 99% of the editors I found work in Final Cut, and although Premiere Pro CS4 can read FCP XML project files, the reverse is NOT true. Which means I had to find a Windows editor, or have to do the whole thing myself. I did find one, finally, and he’s working on it (thank goodness).

How to get around that issue, with the HVX200 (or other P2 camera)?

Simple, instead of labeling the footage in Premiere, I started labeling it in P2 Viewer using the User Clip Name field, which both Premiere and Final Cut read when you import the files (caveat, in FCP, if you don’t use the log and transfer function, you have to manually marry the audio files with the video files, which isn’t too bad because they’re named similarly, but it’s time consuming as all heck, and a pain in the rear!).

Dang, I thought he’d never get to the important stuff!

With that in place, I can give the footage to any editor, in FCP, ask them to e-mail me the FCP and FCP XML projects (for safe keeping), and take the XML version and import it into Premiere, and see the cut in HD instead of having to have him export a low-res video file which takes forever to upload and download. From there I can make my comments, and we go back and forth.

Simple, eh? Who needs to spend hundreds of dollars on The Duck?

Good luck